Art Promotes Creativity
Creativity is the ability to think outside the proverbial box, to string two unrelated ideas together in a new way. Solutions to major problems and breakthroughs of all kinds are linked to creativity. The ability to be creative is vital to the success of our children and the well-being of our world, now more than ever, as we face incredible challenges such as racial discord, wars, global warming, and mass extinctions. Individuals, organizations, and governments seek innovative solutions every day. According to the International Child Art Foundation, “Research indicates that a child who is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property—key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twenty-first century.” The world needs more and better thinkers.
Art Encourages Neural Connections
Art is an activity that can employ all the senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste—depending on the activity. Children’s brain synapses fire away as they experiment and create, squishing paint between their fingers, mixing colors and materials, or drawing from imagination or what they see in front of them.
Art Helps Kids Understand Themselves and Their World
Children absorb incredible amounts of new information, and they need to process what they have learned in a safe, reflective way. Art allows them to explore feelings and deal with both daily and significant events. Art materials provide a safe outlet for emotions. Feelings and ideas can be reduced to a manageable size and manipulated as desired. Movement, image, color, line, and imagination all help children express themselves in a multidimensional way—a way that words may not be able to do, or that may be more comfortable for them than words.
When we encourage our children to explore art, we encourage them to master themselves, their bodies, and a variety of tools and techniques. We give them many ways to express themselves. As parents and teachers, we can offer an environment where it is safe to experiment and create, where questions are encouraged and children have free access to the materials they need and enjoy. We do this not to produce career artists but to raise children who are confident and comfortable with their creativity in whatever form in takes.